Snails are one of the most sought-after, delectable appetizers. Since ancient times they have been worshiped as a delicacy by the beloved ones all over the world. For us Cretans, They are the best appetizers with wine and raki.
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‘SAVORI’ FRIED POTATOES
The fried potato is the ultimate food temptation, the great love of the young and old. It is a hidden temptation, but it takes art and plenty of oil to succeed.
There is no one who does not like French fries, whatever shape or cut, plain or whatever you combine them with. It is the big love of toddlers and if you marry it with a rustic salad it is a heavenly summer lunch.
GRILLED VEGETABLE AND FIG BITES
Figs are one of the abundant summer fruits. We enjoy them as they are, make sweets and jams, add them to salads and spread some in the sun to dry for the winter.
LAMB BELLY IN RED SAUCE WITH ZUCCHINI
It is not only Easter or Christmas when goats, lambs or pigs were slaughtered, it also happened for weddings, baptisms, and when sons were leaving to do national service in the army. It was prepared for all the people in the village who had gathered to bid the young man farewell, as if he were going to a foreign country. Ten or fifteen animals were sometimes slaughtered, depending on how extensive the boy’s family was!
Sheep belly in particular requires knowledge, art and patience to prepare. The housewives boiled them in water and then "lemonized" them with plenty of lemons to make them white. My grandmother was so patient sitting on a low stool for hours, cleaning off the goat which had been slaughtered by her grandfather. "Joy for her patience!" said my mother, who took care to set up the pan to quickly fry an appetizer for a glass of wine or raki.
On friendly tablecloths, the well-cooked and well-groomed belly was an indication of the household’s stature. And if it was made perfectly, the husband would boast about his wife’s prowess in the kitchen!
Now of course things have been simplified. The belly is sold ready cleaned in the butchers and all the cook has to do is give it a good wash.
At this is the time of year, when there ...
SNAILS WITH BULGAR WHEAT AND SOUR CREAM
October is my favorite season, with the first rains slowly making their appearance. The earth smells, the soil smells, the air smells. The earth thirsts for the gift of heaven. We enter another era. A rainy month, sowing and harvesting, as it was referred to by old people in other times waiting for nature to give them her gifts.
BULGUR WHEAT SOUP WITH BEEF SAUSAGES
This is a wonderful soup from my childhood, ideal for cold winter nights.
SNAILS ‘BOUBOURISTI’ WITH ROSEMARY AND VINEGAR
When we talk about appetizers that have the seal of approval in Crete, this recipe comes to mind. There is no Cretan who has not tasted this divine flavor with friends at home, in a tavern, in a café or at a special event.
PORK IN JELLY
Crispy or thick, as most people in Crete know, this is pure meat from the head and legs of the pig, in broth made with its natural gelatin from citrus juice with the addition of spices. It is a spicy appetizer with delicacies given to it by the spices as well as the natural citrus juices.
This is a favorite snack for young and old alike. ‘Peinirli’ is boat-shaped dough traditionally filled with cheese as its Turkish name suggests. We find it in various versions, with sausages, minced meat or vegetables. It came to Greece from the refugees of Asia Minor, so the areas with the highest refugee influx were established as places where we meet the best places to eat this food, like Thessaloniki.
FRIED CRETAN SAUSAGE AND DRIED FIGS
‘Tsiknopempti’ is essentially the day that the festivities for the carnival begin. As its name indicates, it is a Thursday feast.
The word ‘savor’ means tasty and savory as the sauce is made of vinegar, olive oil, flour and rosemary that are poured into fried foods to preserve them for some time. They used to do this in the past before they had refrigerators for storage.
ZUCCHINI FLOWERS STUFFED WITH MYZITHRA (SOFT CRETAN CHEESE)
Next to my hometown in the village, our neighbor Mr. George has for years now maintained one of the loveliest summer gardens with green beans, zucchini, okra, corn, onions, sprouts, purslane and lettuce.
LIVER STEW (STIFADO)
You can call it an appetizer, but it’s also a main. In all the cafes of my village you will find it in small saucers to accompany your raki.
I think even those who don't like liver will enjoy this recipe.
PANCAKES WITH SOUR CREAM AND HERBS
I really like pancakes, with pomegranate, honey or sugar. But savory with sour cream is my big weakness.
RED BULGUR WHEAT WITH SOUR CREAM AND POTATOES
When we say in Cretan ‘trahana’ we mean sour cream bulgur wheat. It took me many years to realize that in the rest of Greece trahana does not mean the same thing as it does to us. Sheep or goat's milk that we let go sour gives it this special flavor. Then it’s boiled with coarse bulgur wheat (broken wheat) and dried in the summer months in the sun.
INTESTINE SOUP WITH EGG LEMON (GARDOMAKIA)
Offal is a favorite of the Cretans so for this reason we have many ways to cook it. ‘Gardomakia’ is a food which is challenging to prepare and is usually eaten during Easter, when carcasses are honored.
WILD ASPARAGUS OMELET
Whenever I get the chance to go to my village, I look for friends to go on nature walks or hikes, to beaches or mountains, depending on the weather and the season. Thank God, wherever you are, you can enjoy nature, either by the seaside or in the mountains.
TARAMA WITH DRY RUSK BREAD
The "Triodion" period is a ten-week period, beginning on the Sunday of the Taurus and the Pharisee, and lasts until Holy Saturday. Lent and Holy Week are also included in this period. It is a period of preparation for the Resurrection.
I went to the village for Easter and found the opportunity to return to the neighborhoods. To describe to you the beautiful pictures of courtyards and flowers, whitewashed walls, clean streets and picturesque gardens, I could talk for hours.
Perhaps the most favorite food for us in Crete, is the appetizer that has the Cretan seal of approval. And it is none other than snails! We learn from children to eat them, to cook them and to gather them.